I won’t go into all the pro’s of having a training log but I do think for anybody that is serious about their training, a log is an invaluable tool. I’ve tried a few online versions but have settled on an excel calendar template where I use comments for any special notes.
The thing it’s helped me do this season is get a feel for how my training is going compared to the last few seasons. It was relatively easy to notice that my base phase went from 600 miles in 2008 to 1000 miles in 2010. That’s simple though what’s more interesting is comparing paces to see where I am relative to previous seasons, and also how I’m doing based on the cycle or phase of training we’re in. On average my easy paces are 10 seconds a mile faster than when I was training for Portland, which is good. This means I’m right under 2:50 marathon shape. I’ve also been able to go back and look at the base phase to steady/tempo phase period. Last season the first two weeks were rough, it wasn’t easy and I eased into steady runs and ended up running marathon goalish pace. Same thing this season so that’s a good thing. This week I’ve also felt really tired, paces a little slower and effort a little higher … well that pattern shows up in spades too. In a two week up phase the second weekend was always very tough. My past three weeks have been 69, 73, and 83 miles respectively so it makes sense that I didn’t feel like I could go and run at speed during yesterdays long run. With the race prep next week bringing another 80 mile week I expect it will be extremely tough, good to get the mind prepared for what will be a very tough run if I end up trying to run 3 sets of 5 miles at marathon goal pace. I’ll give it a go but wouldn’t be surprised at a spectacular flame out with the race prep coming at the end of 3 weeks above 70 miles. You’ll hear all about it next week … good or bad 🙂